One Missing Piece Can Ruin Your Design:
Avoid Costly Redesigns due to Obsolescence

By: Joseph Lee on March 24th, 2022

Electronics design engineers would be thrown into despair if their complex, masterpiece design was foiled by a single missing piece such as an obsolete component. 

 

How Obsolescence Can Ruin Product Design 

Imagine the following scenario. You’re a lead design engineer creating an instrument panel for the hottest new EV on the market, touted to rival the likes of Tesla, Porsche, and BMW! This instrument panel contains a navigation system complete with voice control. To make the voice control work properly, you’ve placed an ASIC into the navigation board assembly. All seems to be going well as you prepare for unveiling the car at the Frankfurt Automotive Show, the largest car show in the world. 

As you prepare for production, you suddenly receive an EOL notification on the ASIC component. You will not be able to use this component anymore. During a frantic search for alternatives, you realize that there are no other suppliers that provide a similar part and that the next best alternative costs 500x more. All your plans are thrown out the window and you have to completely redesign the instrument panel, setting you back 4 years of hard work and requiring your company to withdraw from the Frankfurt Auto Show. 

How do we prevent this from happening to your design? What pieces of data do we look out for? 

 

Check Your Parts First – Look for Alternatives 

Rewind 4 years to when you began the design of this instrument panel, and that ASIC component was slated to go out of production within the year. An EOL notice was sent to the purchaser, but it was not forwarded to you. 

The information is out there, but many times, the purchasers won’t notify the facilities using the parts of the EOL notification. There’s a lot of information out there and it may be difficult to navigate. However, you should start with strategic obsolescence management. Make sure that the parts you use are readily available, have no EOL notice attached to them, and have alternatives in case the supplier decides to suddenly shift gears to another part. 

As you design a product, it’s critical to be aware of the parts being used and their availability. Start looking for alternatives during the planning phase. Is there a plan B, in case your part is no longer available? Are there alternate materials or components? What’s the EOL status of the component? What’s the lead time? 

Proactively watch component availability. A timely alert of a component’s EOL will give you valuable time to avoid an entire board redesign. A last-minute redesign will drain your time and resources, rush manufacturing, and will put your entire product at risk. Eliminate any components that are deemed high risk, whether they are sourced all from one plant, or are low in stock. 

 

Automate Your Design Planning – Identify High Risk Parts 

It is surprising, but most companies don’t take advantage of readily available data on component availability. Proactively using this data puts you at a significant advantage over your competition. A Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tool can provide you greater efficiency as you use this data to navigate your design phase. Manual production planning methods are cumbersome and can be incomplete if the data is not actively refreshed. Automating your component management and adding tools that monitor part risk will save you a lot of headache and money. 

SiliconExpert’s CONNECT suite of data intelligence tools provides a great way of managing your parts. Using machine learning algorithms and historical data, we can even predict EOL dates for products with 92.97% accuracy. This way, you won’t have to wait for product change notices (PCNs) and risk a last-minute redesign. 

To learn more about proactive obsolescence management contact your local SiliconExpert representative at sales@siliconexpert.com. Or contact us below:

 

 

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